A new year is a perfect opportunity to start placing new habits into your life. You may have set a goal relating to a certain habit, such as running, or like me, you may have set goals relating to keeping up routines or learning how to stick to habits. Either way, finding new healthy habits to implement in your life is always good, especially when they will help benefit your mental health within such hard and weird times. Here are ideas for 10 new habits to start this year ( all of which I’ve tried and tested, with good results!)
- Gratitude ritual
- no more Netflix
- building a water routine!!
- Reduce screen-time, weekly screen detox
- Writing down your goals
One of my favourite habits in my life has got to be reading. usually i read whilst drinking my morning coffee after breakfast, and even if it is for only 20-30 minutes a day, it makes a real difference as reading for a short amount daily adds up, allowing me to have read around 50 books last year! I’m not saying you need to read that many books but, developing a little and often approach to reading can help you so much in your life, weather that be learning new topics, increasing creativity or even using it as a tool to help with mental health. Reading often can actually reduce stress by up to 68%! From this you can see how a reading habit could really benefit you. Additionally it can increase sleep quality by 40%.
2. Yoga/ streching
I am not saying you have to become committed to a daily yoga practice as some people simply don’t have the time, however a stretching habit is a great challenge to set yourself this new year. A quick 5/10 minutes of daily stretching can make a difference in a few months and you may be surprised with how flexible you become. Taking 10 minutes is also a great way to set intentional relaxation and self care time daily. If you want you could try a yoga challenge, for example Yoga with Adrienes new 30 day yoga challenge for this January (https://www.youtube.com/c/yogawithadriene ) is a good place to start. For some quick 10 minute morning yoga i also enjoy Yoga With Kassandra, https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithkassandra .
The hardest part of journalling is starting. I always find it’s a struggle to get myself to started but once i sit down and get started on a prompt, i really enjoy myself and end up writing pages at a time. The easiest way to start implementing a journalling habit is through morning pages. This means every morning after you first wake up, you write a full page just getting all the thoughts off your mind and onto the page. if you want to do some more reading about this i’d recommend this: https://theblissfulmind.com/morning-pages/ . Morning pages are a great way to get into the habit of journalling and writing streams of consciousness.
Getting outside in nature daily is one of the best habits. Weather you have a dog or not, daily/frequent walks should be essential. It is so refreshing to get out for at least 30 minutes a day, to give yourself some time away from screens and any daily tasks. getting outside can give you time to think and reflect in silence, but is not as standstill and focused as medititation. Just plugging into a podcast and getting out for 20 minutes between revision sessions can give you just the boost and energy you need to prevent the afternoon slump I’m sure everyone is familiar with.
5. Gratitude Ritual
It can be a simple 1 minute daily habit, just listing 3 things you are greatful for every day, but it can have a huge impact on your life. Gratitude is a huge part of being happy and content in life, so a small daily ritual can make a positive difference in your life. If you’ve read the book Atomic Habits you’ll be familiar with the concept of habit stacking, attaching new small habits to existing consistent habits. you could attach your gratitude habit to brushing your teeth in the morning, a habit you do without thinking about it.
If you are not naturally creative, like myself, you may avoid any sort of thing that is deemed creative. However creativity is not just drawing or painting, it can also include things such as creating a meal, creating a dance or creating a mood board on Pinterest. Another example could be creating a short story from a prompt. Anything that is making or creating anything counts. By building in 10-20 mins a week to do something creative you could discover skills you didn’t know you had, like creative writing, or discover a hobby or finding an activity, such as cooking, that relaxes you and can double as a self care activity.
7. No more pure Netflix
It is so easy to get sucked into a good TV show and spend hours of time bingeing it until 5 hours have passed and you haven’t moved from your bed. Now and then this is fine but it can really eat away at your time, which could be used in way better ways, and it can also mean everything you’ve got to do piles up and will cause you to panic last minute. So bringing in a rule that means you can only watch Netflix whilst doing other stuff will help break the endless cycle of bingeing. This could mean stretching whilst watching, or tidying, both ideas I use myself.
8. Building a water routine
Most of us don’t drink enough water, and most of us know this. Setting a goal to drink more water is extremely common, but I think most people struggle to achieve it as it is not a very clear, actionable goal ( as i speak about in How to set goals for 2021 ( free printable worksheet) What I have found has worked for me is setting a water routine What I mean by this is setting set times of the day where I always drink water. I have a rule, now a natural habit I do without thinking, where ,before I even get out of bed, I drink 2 glasses of water I keep beside my bed. I always remember to fill these up the night before so it is no effort for me to just sit up and get my first 2 glasses of water in. Additionally I make sure I don’t start my meals without a glass of water first. As well as a reminder to drink water, I’m sure this also has benefits to your body as well.
9. Reduce Screen-time
Getting in the habit of measuring and decreasing your screen-time is an extremely important habit, that will free up your time, increase productivity and improve mental health. You hear a lot about this topic these days, about getting off social media, but it is easier said than done. It is hard but you just have to force yourself to do it, until it feels natural. I suggest having a weekly detox day where you delete social media and focus on yourself and the world around you. Another tip would be using the setting on IPhones where you can limit time you can spend on an app, I use this on Instagram and Snapchat.
10. Write down your goals on paper
Everyone has goals or general aims in their lives, weather they are specific or not, and everyone has something they would want to achieve. Writing your goals down on paper, by hand, increases the chance of you achieving them by 42%. 42%! That is almost 50% more likely, why wouldn’t you want to do that? Additionally writing them down and placing them somewhere where you can see it daily keeps the idea constantly in your brain, giving you motivation and purpose for your days. Weather these goals be specific or general, such as a goal to be more positive, if you want to give yourself the best chance of achieving them then writing them down is the way to go.
So, that is the 10 habits that will help you create a happier, healthier lifestyle in 2021. They all have huge benefits and although habits are tough to implement, these 10 are fairly simple, small goals, and with consistency they can make a huge difference, as they have in my life as I started integrating them last July.